Thursday, April 7, 2011

The "love" we give the family dog.

Our children love our dog, Tucker. In fact, everyone in our home loves Tucker. He is truly a member of the family. Unfortunately for Tucker, how our family displays this “love” can sometimes be . . . well . . . painful. The children love hugging, squeezing, and petting the dog. If Tucker were to translate that, it would mean that they are chasing him around the house, jerking his tails and ears, and tackling him at every opportunity. At times, it looks so rough that I worry about his safety, but he hardly whimpers.

The kids have figured out they can get Tucker to chase them when they steal his toy and he’ll even play tug-o-war with them. Although, he must be smarter than we give him credit for as he often, seemingly intentionally and strategically, will let go of the tug toy at just the right moment, sending the children flying backwards as they give a big pull with no resistance from the dog. The other game of chase, where the children chase the dog, seems more like a race for survival for the dog as he runs, jumps, and dives under furniture to keep away from the “love” the children are attempting to give him. Once caught, he is hugged, squeezed, and wrestled to the ground. He has figured out that the best defense mechanism in this situation is his tongue. A good slobbery lick across the face typically sends the kids diving away, wiping their faces yelling, “Argh,” temporarily releasing their prisoner.

Another example of the “love” our dog gets for being a part of our family occurred recently when we had our son take the dog outside on one of those retractable leads and when he returned, he kept the dog on this lead in the house. He closed the dog on the opposite side of a glass door and slowly backed away, stretching the lead to its maximum. My wife noticed this strange development and asked him what he was doing. Our son, in a tone that suggested he was stating the obvious said, “I wanted to see how far the lead would go.” Tucker, just sat at the end of the extended lead with those sad eyes seemingly saying, “Are you really just going to sit there and watch this?”

Unfortunately for Tucker, he is not immune from this sort of “love” from the adults either. You see, Tucker is a cute dog. So cute, in fact, that nearly everyone assumes he, is a she. So in an effort to make him more manly looking, we gave him a haircut . . . a Mohawk to be precise. That poor dog could hardly show his face around the house he was so embarrassed. The good news is that it had the desired effect, as we have fewer cases of mistaken gender identity now.

But before you start feeling sorry for Tucker, know that at the end of the day, he climbs up on our bed, makes at least a dozen circles trying to find that most comfortable spot, does a little digging in a totally inappropriate location (our brand new comforter) showing his ancestral instincts that no longer have any value in his life, before he plops down for another long nap. This is seemingly makes up his existence, a series of long, lazy naps, interrupted only to eat and suffer some small indignity by our family.

Although our son made it clear recently, that despite his affection for Tucker, he is disappointed with one shortcoming. When asked what he wants for his upcoming birthday, he said, “A talking dog that is not a robot.”

When you get up from your nap, Tucker, speak!

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